Qantas Chairman's Lounge: the unofficial guide

By Chris C., August 29 2016
Qantas Chairman's Lounge: the unofficial guide

The Qantas Chairman’s Lounge program is considered the top rung of Qantas status, above Platinum One, although no amount of actual flying will get you there – it's an invitation-only affair.

And like many other airline VIP schemes, specific details of the Chairman's Lounge and its perks are closely guarded... but we've pulled together what we know to bring you this unofficial guide.

How to get Qantas Chairman’s Lounge status

Once described by Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce as “probably the most exclusive club in the country”, memberships are approved by Qantas Chairman Leigh Clifford for periods of two years at a time, and can be renewed every two years as Qantas’ discretion.

Among those invited: senior-ranking MPs including Ministers, state Premiers and the Prime Minister, leaders of major unions, Qantas Ambassadors such as Hugh Jackman and John Travolta, selected A-list celebrities and some high-profile members of the media.

Other recipients of the cherished black card are senior management at some of Australia's largest companies who spend big on Qantas flights.

Qantas also extends Chairman’s Lounge membership to partners of the above.

It's worth noting that Chairman’s Lounge membership actually sits alongside Qantas Frequent Flyer membership – so a VIP who flies often could be a Chairman’s Lounge Platinum One member, while one who flies relatively little could be Chairman’s Lounge Silver (or even Chairman’s Lounge Bronze).

Where to find the Qantas Chairman’s Lounges

The Chairman's Lounge isn't just a membership tier with impressive perks: it's also a network of actual airport lounges where the elite can cool their heels away from members of the public.

Qantas Chairman’s Lounges are located in six of Australia’s busiest domestic airports – but unless you know where to look you may not even notice they’re there, as they're not always marked by name.

For those who are curious, here's where the domestic Chairman's Lounges lurk:

  • Sydney: Tucked away behind a frosted glass door in the walkway between the Business Lounge and Qantas Club
  • Melbourne: Through a subtly-marked black door directly opposite from the main Qantas Club reception desk
  • Brisbane: Near Gate 23, away from the other two Qantas lounges
  • Canberra: On the main lounge level beyond the large ‘private lounge’ bollard found in front
  • Adelaide: To the left of the Qantas Club
  • Perth: Upstairs, next to the Qantas Club

There aren’t any international Chairman’s Lounges, although thanks to the design of Adelaide and Canberra airports, members can stop by ahead of international flights before going through passport control.

As part of the Qantas/Emirates partnership, access to the Chairman's Lounges is also extended to members of the equivalent Emirates iO (Invitation Only) program.

Read: Invitation Only – the club that Emirates won't talk about

Qantas Chairman’s Lounges: what’s inside?

We’d best describe Qantas’ Chairman’s Lounges in Sydney, Canberra and Perth as a scaled-down version of the Qantas First Lounge – sans the spa but with dusk green interiors as opposed to the bold reds of the first class lounge.

Photo tour: Inside the Qantas Chairman's Lounge

In Melbourne, expect a more colourful design that better-represents ‘new European’ rather than ‘old London’…

… while the Adelaide lounge is somewhat older in design.

Brisbane’s current Chairman’s Lounge will also be replaced by a brand new lounge, flagged to open in mid-late 2017.

Read: New Qantas Chairman's Lounge coming to Brisbane

All Chairman’s Lounges offer a la carte dining within a dedicated restaurant zone with some familiar First Lounge favourites...

... along with a buffet tailored towards quick visits and less fussy flyers.

The larger Chairman’s Lounges feature a library with books, doubling as a quiet place to sit and read...

... while all-day alcohol service is available (there's no waiting until noon for the bar to open) plus private meeting rooms, work rooms, iMac computers and ASX stock quote boards in some locations.

Other Qantas Chairman’s Lounge benefits

Chairman's Lounge members enjoy access to the private Chairman’s Lounges and all other Qantas lounges regardless of which airline they're flying with, and can also use Qantas Valet services at the airport when they’re not travelling.

While Chairman’s Lounges often have private and free-to-use meeting rooms inside as well, it’s understood that members can only ‘officially’ bring two guests into the Chairman’s Lounge at a time – so for larger conferences, general meeting rooms are free to use outside of Sydney and Melbourne.

On all Qantas domestic and international flights, Chairman’s cardholders (along with Platinum One frequent flyers) can select from any available seat at any time, too.

That includes the prized 1A in first class; the small three-row business class cabin at the front of Qantas’ Airbus A380; former first class seats now sold as business class on Qantas’ older Boeing 747s; and when stuck in economy, extra legroom seating and the coveted row four on Boeing 737 flights.

‘First Host’ treatment is also available when jetting internationally in any class of service including kerbside meet-and-greet, porter assistance and an escorted walk to the lounge, not to mention a phone call the day before travel for ‘first dibs’ on a spa appointment in the First Lounge.

Chairman's Lounge members visiting Qantas’ 'premium' lounges in Singapore and Hong Kong – which combine all frequent flyers and premium passengers into a single space – find real Champagne is brought out from 'under the bar', and also have priority access to shower suites.

Even more Chairman’s Lounge perks

So what's it like to fly as a Chairman's Lounge member?

For starters, once you're relaxing in the lounge (even the Qantas First Lounge, as there are no international Chairman's Lounges) there’s no need to keep an ear cocked for your boarding call.

The lounge attendants will come and find you when boarding is almost complete, so you can maximise your lounge time.

On board, your elite Chairman's Lounge status is flagged on the iPads given to cabin crew so they know to look after you during the flight. Your preferences are tracked from flight to flight, including favourite wines.

A copy of the Qantas Chairman's Lounge membership guide sighted by Australian Business Traveller also notes that “you’ll be among the first to have an upgrade confirmed” and that members have “access to extra upgrade seats, where available, on Qantas domestic and international flights.”

Also as with Platinum One, when a Chairman’s Lounge member requests a frequent flyer upgrade on behalf of an eligible family member, that upgrade request will be treated with the same priority as though the Chairman’s Lounge cardholder were flying themselves.

Finally, all Chairman's Lounge members receive Oneworld Emerald frequent flyer status which affords access to the best lounges of all Oneworld airlines such as British Airways and Cathay Pacific, plus the usual perks like priority check-in, boarding and baggage delivery.

Also read:

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Chris C.

Chris is a a former contributor to Executive Traveller.

26 Oct 2012

Total posts 8


         You don't mention the obvious disadvantage-encountering a fellow member you don't want to see.

04 May 2015

Total posts 270

"Please Explain?"

26 Oct 2012

Total posts 8

Easy,someone like a politician who has made a controversial decision and encounters persons in the lounge who don't like it.There are many other examples that come to mind.

American Airlines - AAdvantage

13 Jul 2015

Total posts 268

I guess in this case - you grow up a little, ignore them, and go sit down and enjoy some food and drinks! Pretty Simple actually.

04 May 2015

Total posts 270

Yeah, see, I wasn't actually asking you to explain your comment. Try searching the quote and see whose name comes up.

You'll find the whole point of the CL is so that these types of people aren't approached and bothered by regular types of people and have a little sanctuary where they're away from all that.

If all else fails they could always step into a meeting room and close the door!

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards Platinum

29 Aug 2014

Total posts 38

Well.. Imagine if Kim Jung Eun and Donald Trump in the same

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 May 2014

Total posts 465

The first CL member I met on a flight told me he qualified by being a mate of Geoff Dixon.

31 Mar 2014

Total posts 372

It would seem, it's not what you know, but who you know

12 Feb 2014

Total posts 228

I doubt any mates of Geoff Dixon are offered CL membership nowadays.

17 Jun 2011

Total posts 65

Recently I saw a high profile MP in a domestic J lounge and immediately thought 'shouldn't you have CL status?'...


03 May 2012

Total posts 113

Yes, all MPs get it, not just high profile ones. My friend got his invitation less than a week after being elected. Virgin got in faster though!

This actually links in with Sabena's comment above, which was probably unfairly downvoted.  I used to travel with an employer who had CL and he would, in Canberra, use the QC or the J Lounge to avoid the people in the CL he would have to see all week and who he didn't want to speak to over a beer.  This probably isn't all that common but it does happen. 

Etihad - Etihad Guest

29 Aug 2016

Total posts 3

Chairman's lounge members also get another big benefit not listed here.. Along with PlatinumOne members they can have flights changed regardless of booking class at no cost. So even if they book a red-e-deal $89 ADL-MEL and want it moved, qantas will change it to whatever else they want on the day, with no fare upgrade fees or change fees. 

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2514

Hi J, that's not quite right for Platinum One members, who need to be booked on a flexible ticket to guarantee this benefit.

(From time to time, airport staff may let Platinum One passengers switch flights in the lounge at no cost, as happens also for Platinums and Golds, but with Qantas it's never to be expected at those tiers unless fare rules allow.)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2011

Total posts 363

Thats true, even as Platinum with QF I have never managed to have a flight changed when not booked flexi. Only unless it suits QF and a storm is coming and they want to get people on earlier flights.


Emirates Airlines - Skywards

30 Nov 2015

Total posts 738

I wonder how many CL are on the red-e-deals.


11 Jul 2014

Total posts 894

Will the pilot hold the plane back for a CL member to board when running late? I know VA does this for one of my good friends.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jan 2014

Total posts 319

i wonder if the guests in the chairmnas lounge cover all the chairs with their hand luggage, bakpacks and laptop bags so no one else can sit down like they do in the QC.

10 Aug 2015

Total posts 117

Using the word "lounge" in the programme title is a bit of an error on behalf of QF. It is more than a collection of seats to read emails and have a champagne before one boards. It is the total engagement experience, effectively a lobby process by QF. The oddity being that it is such an extreme level of service it highlights how basic the QF service can be towards the millions of of passengers, including staff, co-workers and family of CL members.

As one CL sitting next to me in economy said, after having the crew welcome him by name over and over again, it is embarrassing.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Jan 2016

Total posts 10

My boss used to ask me to meet him in the Chairman's Lounge when we were flying together. As our bookings were usually linked, some of the Chairman's Lounge treatment used to rub off on me. One or two of the more sour hosts at the front desk would scowl and refuse to let me in until he arrived but, once he showed up, they suddenly considered me a VIP too!

Incidentally, I doubt the Prime Minister would be fussed about being a Chairman's Lounge member; he would travel exclusively on the RAAF jets. (When he's not on a local train.)

Apparently the process of receiving your first Chairman's Lounge invitation is quite personalised. Would be good to give a bit of an insight into that.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Aug 2014

Total posts 74

A room full of ego politicians that we pay for to fly ,no thanks been in once and I'll stick to my Fitst lounge.

03 Oct 2022

Total posts 1

I'm trying to obtain a list of benefits and terms and conditions of membership/use/entry to the Qantas Chairmans Lounge.  Does anyone know where I could obtain either/both of these?

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